|Summary:||Wrestling, ground and pound|
|From:||Angels Camp, California USA|
|Fights Out Of:||Sacramento, California USA|
|Height:||5' 6" ( 167 cm )|
|Weight:||135 lb ( 61 kg )|
|College:||Cal State Fullerton|
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Few UFC championship fights have been as stirring – or as surprising – as TJ Dillshaw’s victory over Renan Barao for the bantamweight title in May 2014.
Dillashaw was a considerable underdog with a 10-2 professional record when he faced Barao, arguably the greatest bantamweight in MMA history, at UFC 173 in Las Vegas. Barao brought in a 34-1 record, was on a 22-fight win streak and hadn’t lost in nine years.
But Dillashaw pulled off a stunning upset, using quick hands and exceptional footwork to dominate Barao from the start before finishing him with a fifth-round TKO.
“All you have to do is believe, baby!” Dillashaw said in the Octagon. “Believe you’re the best in the world and you’ll get here!”
Dillashaw’s rise through the ranks wasn’t exactly meteoric, but he progressed quickly after turning pro in 2010.
A three-time NCAA qualifier in wrestling at Cal State Fullerton, Dillashaw joined Team Alpha Male in Sacramento at the urging of his friend Urijah Faber. He won his first four professional fights, but his big breakthrough came when he was signed to take part in The Ultimate Fighter: Team Bisping vs. Team Miller in 2011.
Dillashaw won two fights to reach the final against John Dodson. In his official UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter finale in December 2011, Dillashaw was defeated by TKO in the first round. But the defeat didn’t slow his climb to the top of the bantamweight class.
In fact, he won five of his next six bouts to earn a shot at Barao’s 135-pound title. His victory catapulted him to the top of the division and earned him a spot in the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings.
A rematch with Barao was scratched in August 2014, but Dillashaw still defended his title with a fifth-round knockout of Joe Soto at UFC 177.